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How an assault allegedly involving 'the Sultan's son' pitted two powerful groups against each other in Indonesia

ABC News - June 18, 2023

Bill Birtles and Ari Wu in Jakarta – On a balmy evening down a quiet street in the bustling capital of Indonesia, a teenage boy was ordered by a man to do push-ups.

When 17-year-old David Ozora failed to do as many as the man ordered, he was mocked and repeatedly kicked in the head, even as he lay motionless on the ground.

Filmed by a second man who also joined in on the violence, the video shocked Indonesia and triggered the most widely anticipated criminal trial in years.

The case emerged at a time of simmering anger over corruption, privilege and access to justice in Indonesia.

This month, 20-year-old Mario Dandy Satriyo, along with his co-accused Shane Lucas, went on trial, alleged to have put the teenager in a coma in an attack orchestrated by Satriyo's teenaged girlfriend.

The 15-year-old, whose name has been suppressed because of her age, previously dated the victim.

She has already been sentenced to a youth detention facility for her role in facilitating the attack.

The case has galvanised public attention because of Satriyo's prominent family, which is facing accusations of corruption and special treatment.

Social media revelations about the family's lifestyle have played a huge role in spurring authorities to act.

"This case highlights the gap between the elite and the mass public," Devie Rahmawati, a lecturer at Indonesia University in Jakarta, said.

"There's an accumulation of anger about this type of alleged violence by the wealthy towards others."

But many feel Mario Dandy's prosecution is only happening at all because he allegedly picked on the wrong victim.

David Ozora's family did not have the wealth of Mario Dandy's parents, but it had a crucial connection that shaped the response to the case from day one.

Mr Ozora's father is a member of the militant wing of the nation's largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, boasting more than 45 million members.

The organisation has rallied around the Ozora family and publicly pressured police and prosecutors to pursue the case.

It has pitted two powerful forces in Indonesia – the wealthy and the religious – against each other.

And it has raised questions about whether police would be so proactive for a victim with fewer strings to pull.

The luxury Jeep that intrigued online sleuths

The case first jumped to public attention in late February when the 17-year-boy was brought to an intensive care unit of a Jakarta hospital with severe head injuries.

The boy's father posted online about his plight, and because he's a member of the paramilitary wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, thousands of other members started to pay close attention.

Soon, the 57-second video of the attack, filmed by Satriyo's co-accused Shane Lukas, was going viral.

It took the victim two months to recover from brain injuries.

Police started questioning several young men, including Satriyo, about the attack.

Social media sleuths then posted pictures online of a black late model Jeep at the South Jakarta police station where he was interviewed, questioning how a 20-year-old could afford one.

Soon the social media hunt was on, with people unearthing pictures of Satriyo riding a Harley Davidson motorbike and living a life of relative luxury in a country where the average GDP per person is just $6,550 per year (AUD).

Further online investigations revealed his father was a mid-ranking tax official, prompting anti-corruption investigators to pour over the unexplained wealth of the family, including multiple properties.

Corruption among public servants and officials in Indonesia has generated anger among the public for years, providing plenty of impetus for amateur investigators online to follow the clues.

Satriyo's father was sacked as investigators displayed close to two-dozen luxury handbags and bundles of cash to the media while parading his father in an orange suspect uniform.

Separate videotaped apologies from both parents were released asking for forgiveness, but new questions were being raised about the justice process.

The scandal earned Satriyo the online nickname 'son of a Sultan'.

While internet users fixated on Satriyo's family, Jakarta's prosecutors moved quickly on his girlfriend.

The 15-year-old is accused of organising Satriyo's attack on her ex-boyfriend, and prosecutors expedited her trial, with a court in early April sentencing her to three-and-a-half years in a youth detention facility.

Her identity as a minor was supposed to be suppressed but photos of her with both the victim and Satriyo have spread online.

Waves of social media abuse were directed at her, with some Indonesian online media outlets doing little to try to protect her identity.

Her swift jailing prompted some to question why a teenage girl was being locked away, but not the two men who allegedly delivered the beating.

Perhaps demonstrating the questionable nature of how the case has been handled by Indonesian authorities, a leaked recording of the judgement in her closed trial revealed Satriyo had sex with the underage minor.

That paved the way for another investigation of Satriyo, with prosecutors announcing they are preparing a separate case against him for statutory rape.

'We call it viral-based justice'

Amid the tangled web of alleged crimes and the different justice processes meted out for the girl, Satriyo and his parents have shone a light on how inconsistently the law can be applied in Indonesia and how social media influences the process.

But Dr Rahmawati of Indonesia University doesn't necessarily think that's a bad thing.

"We call it 'viral-based justice'," she said.

"The attention is good because this case helps serve as a model for all Indonesians that these sorts of crimes shouldn't be tolerated anymore.

"Our police forces in such a huge country can't address every crime, but in high profile cases, the social media attention helps them gather the information they need."

After months of headlines and scrutiny, the trial against Satriyo and his co-accused has begun in a court in Jakarta's south.

The proceedings are already attracting round-the-clock attention from reporters, social media sleuths and the public.

A recent video of Satriyo appeared to show he was able to take off and remove his own handcuffs, forcing police to defend their handling of his case, amid claims he wasn't being treated like ordinary suspects.

Eventually, a senior police official apologised, acknowledging it wasn't appropriate and that lessons would be learned.

If convicted of assault, Mario Dandy Satriyo is facing up to 12 years in jail.

If charged over statutory rape, he could face a lengthier stint in jail, but that investigation is still in its early stages.

The investigation into his father by corruption authorities is continuing.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-18/indonesias-mario-dandy-assault-case-captures-a-nation/10244432